A Cinderella Mother’s Day Thanks to Amazon! Part Two

IMG_7751A91I5364Mother’s Day starts with a homemade pumpkin waffle, a little basil sausage, and some slightly crunchy eggs. The girls even whip up a cream cheese topping, but I can’t lie. I’m looking forward to the day when one of them learns to work the cappuccino machine. A lady needs her latte.

 

The car arrives at 2:30PM on the dot, and hubby miraculously makes it home in time with flowers and snacks for the road. And with the two plus hour commute into the city, the Pringles and lemonade serve as a welcomed treat. But nothing makes a drive like the song on the radio. So minutes after getting on the highway (how did I wait that long?) this mother of a music-loving family shamelessly asks our driver, Dio, “How’s the sound system in here?”IMG_1274

 

A91I5612He smiles in the rearview mirror and asks, “What kind of music do you like?” thus filling the air with tunes to keep us company. Best part is when Sun plays Hamilton through the stereo and the girls sing every word just as we pass the big Hamilton Billboards before entering the Midtown Tunnel.

 

The hotel drop off meets us with an afternoon shower, but a little rain cannot dampen our excitement. The moment we enter my complimentary upgraded room at the Knickerbocker (Thank you, Amazon!) who would be the first to fall back on the bed like they do in the movies? The husband. I want to take pictures of every second and every detail, but I stop myself and just enjoy the moment. Many moments.

 

FullSizeRender (2)Like when the girls play with the remote to control the window shades or when the three out of four of my girls snuggle under the king-sized bed covers just to “test them out.” Or when my oldest takes the other three on a field trip to the rooftop only to discover the New Year’s Eve Ball! “Mom, it was across from us. So close. It was right there!”

 

IMG_7724After some scrumptious takeout from Carmines, the girls and hubby and I exchange hugs and kisses before the car picks up and drives the family back to Long Island (Thank you, Dio!) and I am on my own. Nothing like a big comfy bed to cozy into with a box of strawberries and a good story. On screen this time. After watching two episodes of Prison Break, I force myself to turn it off so I won’t end up that girl who slept through her alarm clock and arrived at Nasdaq with her dress on backwards.

 

FullSizeRender (7)And truth be told. I don’t sleep well at all. Maybe it’s the temperature. So I turn it down. Maybe it’s the lights. I cover every last tiny light in the room. Maybe it’s just me. Worried I’ll be that girl who slept through her alarm clock and arrived at Nasdaq with her dress on backwards. It is 2:30AM and there is only one thing I can do about that. Get a jump-start on getting ready for the morning. Yep. I take a long shower, blow out my hair, and if the clock didn’t read 3:30 in the morning, I might have started to do my make-up. I make a second attempt to sleep and I must have because when Tracey Chapman’s voice streams into my dreams, I have no choice. It is go time else risk becoming that girl who slept through her alarm clock…Not going to risk it.

 

FullSizeRender (3)Up and on to the first battle at hand. My hair. Curling irons on, I alternate straightening my unruly waves with pressing cans of ice cold coke under my eyes (a little trick I learned from the Wolverine’s Instagram once right before he had to host an award show.) Hair on fleek, creamed up feet, and dressed now, I dab on a touch of eye liner and mascara, and move to put on the finishing touch. Something I do often when I have a big moment but can’t take my kids and hubby with me is I take a piece of them with me. Today was one of those days, so I latch on earrings from my third daughter, a necklace from my second-born, a charm from my nine-year old, and an anklet from my first girl. I finish with a silver bracelet hubby gave me for our tenth anniversary. After washing down a couple of strawberries with a swig of water, I grab my clutch, and head down to the lobby ten minutes early with one mission. Find coffee.

 

FullSizeRender (5)Latte in hand, I meet three of the VIP’s with Ty Rogers (the Amazon guy who helped make all this happen,) and we are off the Nasdaq headquarters—a hop, skip, and jump through Times Square, clear security, and head up the elevator to a lovely-scented, warm breakfast, and yes. More coffee. But I can’t eat. I don’t want to chance spilling food on my dress or having to run to the girl’s room in the middle of pictures. Hey, welcome to the forties. But most of all, I know there will be pictures, and pepper teeth is not going to my nickname this day.

 

Shortly after, the woman in charge of directing the morning invites five of us along with Brian Olsavsky, Amazon CFO, to a conference room to quickly rehearse. I only have one question when she asks. “Is it okay to shout out a ‘Woooo!’” She enthusiastically says, “Yes! The more woo-hoos, the better!”

 

A91I5316Next there are pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. And I am always directed to stand to the right of the CFO. And when the speaking starts, Brian shares a little about each of us five, giving a generous shout out to my books and to the sisters who asked me to “Please keep writing” in a letter I carry around in my purse.

 

I have three jobs. 1. Stand and smile. 2. Cheer loudly and clap when Brian is about to ring the Opening Bell. And 3. Do not cry.

 

IMG_7731Thankful I speak with the other woman VIP right before we walked up to the podium about what to do with my hands. “Keep them by your side she said, that way you won’t fidget with your hands.” It works. And I smile a lot. Shout out plenty of hoots and hollers, even though I’m pretty sure the SmugMug guy next to me out-cheered me. And believe it or not, I manage to keep my emotions in check.

 

FullSizeRender (9)Then the Nasdaq woman in charge directs all the other forty or so Amazonians to stand behind us and of course, more pics. Lots and lots of photos. And if you can’t tell on TV, there’s no literal Bell that’s rung. It’s a digital bell that gets tapped by Brian after a ten-second countdown followed by more cheering. And that is it. Well, almost.
We follow the camera crew down into Times Square and crossed the street so the huge Nasdaq jumbo screen stands behind us. Then comes… you guessed it. More pictures. Lots of shots. Some with the five VIPs and Brian. Some individual shots. And some large group shots. They even do a surprise birthday shout out! And then we all turn and look at the jumbo screen and to everyone’s delight, the very pictures they just took flash on the jumbo screen.

 

A91I5579There I am. In the middle of Times Square. Looking at myself on the jumbo screen in Times Square! I’m still in shock that it even happened. And then it’s over. Well, pretty much.

 

But some of us return upstairs to pick up some fun goodies, like t-shirts, jackets, 20th Anniversary cookies, and for me… breakfast. Bacon never tasted so good. And I have to admit. I have another cup of coffee.

 

A91I5383And the part that I’m about to share might not make sense to some of you, but that’s okay. Everyone has a story. This is mine. And I want to tell the whole story, not leave anything out, because many years from now, when I’m long gone, like all of us, I will be remembered for something. And even though my childhood dream was to be an author, being acknowledged by Amazon at the Opening Bell of Nasdaq is an outstanding honor, and a fun-filled night in New York City is an absolute treat… these are not the things I want to be remembered for.

This is.

When we first arrived in the city, after exploring the hotel room, we ventured two blocks over through Times Square to Hillsong. And for my music-loving family, attending a service at the Playstation Theater is like going to a concert. But not one we just listen to, but one that we actively participate in. Because as I stood there under chandeliers staring down the row at my four girls, some with their hands raised, but all of them singing…I couldn’t help but get choked up. There were a million and one “fun” things to do in the city that never sleeps, and they chose to be here. They wanted to be here. Because life moves fast. Busy is everyone’s pace. But here… here was a chance to hit pause. And acknowledge why we breathe. How we breathe. The giver of every breath. Yes, God. And to thank him for his love. For his gift of forgiveness through his son, Jesus. And for his daily grace that sustains us through the madness of it all. This is what it’s all about for my girls, their dad, and me.

 

And all I could do was close my eyes and whisper the words, “Thank you.”

 

Thank you IMG_1301for meeting my girls. For showing them you’re real. More real than any and all the material blessings they do and will ever experience. Thank you for filling a place in their hearts that nothing or no one else can. And thank you for, in the words of my mother, “Keeping their feet on the ground and their heads held high.” This – loving my family and loving God – is what I want to be remembered for.

 

Well, I check out of my hotel at noon as planned after lots of thank you’s and a few hugs, Dio loads my luggage, and we’re off. He tells me all about the drive home the night before with my family. Apparently they were wiped out, and the car got really quiet when he rolled up to the house.

 

IMG_7767And when I arrive home, my bed is calling, but that isn’t an option quite yet. Not yet. I start dinner. Two need to be picked up from track. Another needs her hair done for the Spring Concert. And one needs a hug and reminding that she will get through this season of tests. Life stops for no one.

 

When my head hits the pillow, all I can think is Wow! A Mother’s Day full of bells and whistles. A weekend to remember. And a moment to reflect on what I want to be remembered for. Thank you.

 

Tis the Season to Go Swimming!

STCseason

 

Looking for GIFT ideas for a friend or family member? Got any teens in your life who need a Good Read this Season? Want to stuff someone’s stocking with CLOUDS!! NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT!! Just in time for Christmas!! 

AVAILABLE on Amazon! Less than $10. Tis the Season to go Swimming

Fall is for Falling in Love! Swimming Through Clouds-MEGA Giveaway!

stc_giveaway_contest-fall is for falling in love

My favorite season of the year is fall. Not summer with her hot sun and trips to the beach. Not winter with her sled rides and snow angels. Not spring with her rainy days and scent of blossoms.

But fall. With her reds and yellows and oranges swaying on and off branches. Sparkles of floating embers from bonfires in the evenings. And the crunch of leaves beneath my boots on early morning walks. Okay, afternoon walks. You know I’m not a morning person. :)

amazon STCTalia and Lagan, the main characters in Swimming Through Clouds, met in the fall of their senior year in high school. To celebrate their unforgettably sticky, Post-it love story, I’m declaring fall as the best time to fall in love. :) And no better way to celebrate than with a MEGA-Giveaway with lots of Fun Fall Prizes including a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Fifteen Winners will win over $150 worth in prizes. You could be one of them! So whatcha waitin’ for? The Swimming Through Clouds family invites you to jump into our pile of prizes and find plenty of ways to rack up your chances to be a winner. See you in November when the Lucky 15 will be announced! Happy Swimming, all!

Hugs,

Raj
CLICK ON a Rafflecopter giveaway 

To JUMP Into a PILE Of Prizes you won’t want to LEAVE behind!

**NOTE: Open to U.S. and Canadian Residents only.

**AMAZON $50 Gift Card Reserved for one Lucky Amazon Reviewer. Because I want to say thank you for sharing your honest take on my first book. AND your questions and concerns are actively shaping the sequel!! :)

***

Have you read Swimming Through Clouds? Have you told your neighbors? Facebook Friends? Mother, sister, BFFs, and teenagers at the park? They say #wordofmouth is still the best way to spread good news!! :)

Details BELOW: MAKE SURE TO ENTER on THE RAFFLECOPTER

UP TO 50 Chances to Put Your Name in the Hat! 

WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?

  • 1 $50 Amazon Gift Card (Only open to Amazon Reviewer Participants!)
  • 1 $25 Starbucks Card for all you Java Lovas!
  • 1 TALIA Blue GIFT Bag of nail polish, lip gloss, Peppermint Bubblegum and a Cloudy-Blue Rainbow-Loom Bracelet!!
  • 5 Winners will receive CANDY!! Treats no tricks! Chocolate, of course!!
  • 7 Winners will receive Swimming Through Clouds Post-its!!

HOW CAN PEOPLE ENTER?

  • +Tweet about the Giveaway
  • +Leave a Blog Post Comment
  • +Follow @rajdeeppaulus on Twitter
  • +Like Rajdeep Paulus on Facebook
  • +2 Like Rajdeep Paulus Author Page on AMAZON
  • +10~ Read the FREE Chapters of Swimming Through Clouds on AMAZON.~
  • +10~ Share your thoughts on Swimming Through Clouds with an Amazon Review!~
  • +10~ Post a Clouds PIC on Twitter of Facebook! With Amazon Link!
  • +10~ Show me some Pinterest or Instagram Love! With Amazon Link!~

WHEN DOES IT START/END?

All times are in Eastern Time (US & Canada). 

  
  

TERMS & CONDITIONS

NOTE: U.S. and Canadian Residents ONLY

I Might Not be Miss America, But…

 

image

The Lovely Tosca Lee!

Almost a week ago, I nearly chip my bubblegum pink nail polish as I fiddle with my nails on the drive to the airport. Nothing like battling NYC traffic on the LIE while running late to a flight to get your fingers a’biting and knees a’shaking. Hug and two smooches later, Hubby drives off and I’m asking Airport security if I can be escorted to the front of the line. My plane takes off in half an hour.

“Do you have Special Business Class Priority Check-in Status?” The lady in uniform asks me something like that.

“Umm. No.”

“You have plenty of time,” she says. Meaning, get in line with the rest of the world and wait it out.

Flip-flops slipped on, jacket tucked under suitcase handle, laptop on my shoulder, I race down Terminal D to find the Delta flight to Indianapolis leaving in now fifteen minutes. Except that I read the screen wrong. Not arriving flights! Departing! Backtrack to the fork and now I’m jogging with luggage in tow down Terminal C. And it would have to be C29, the furthest possible gate from where I was on take one.

And then it happens. Continue reading

Who Went Swimming This Summer?

And what they’re saying about Clouds.

STCquoteNomatterhow

Just thought I’d share a few links to Book Reviews on Swimming Through Clouds that Readers have so graciously offered to post after they read my first novel.

At Brown Girl Magazine:

At Talking Cranes:

At The Borrowed Book:

At Commotion in the Pews:

At Living Life Bright: 

At Brilliantly Novel:

At To Love, Honor and Vacuum:

As more reviews come in, I’ll add to this list. Thanks so much to all the Reviewers and their encouraging feedback on my little girl BIG Dream!

Convinced yet? Take a swim then. Swimming Through Clouds, that is!

*Hugs*

Raj

 

 

Got Post-its?

photo-34Got Post-its? Then, Stick someone with a note. And tell ‘em how much you *heart* them. Or just want to say, “Hi!” or that you Miss ‘em. Or want to say, “Thanks” for this or that. Or just want to tell them that you’re thinking about ‘em. Or other. The options, really are endless. Besides the small space confining you to a limited number of legible words on a little square sheet, you can tell someone just about anything. Really.

 

Six Easy Steps to #PostitLove Success:

Step One: Pull out your Post-it pad. Yellow, Blue, Pink or Purple. Think of someone you want to send out a surprise message to. It’s like sending a letter without the stamps, trip to the Post office or three-day wait time to see it got there.

 

Or Peach!!

Or Peach!!

Step Two: Find a writing device. Pen, pencil, marker. Crayon will do. I know, I know, with all the typing and tapping, sweeping and swiping, writing on paper is almost a lost art. But I know you have something to write with, somewhere under a pile of unchecked mail. Find it!

 

Step Three: Write a word or two. Doodle a drawing. Scribble and scribe. Keep it simple. Share a smile. Spread the love.

 

Step Four: Photograph your post-it. Nearly every digital device out there has your basic camera function, so snap a shot, and..

 

Step Five: You thought I was gonna say, “Share” didn’t you? But one Final detail: Tag the person you’re sending the note to [kind of like putting an address on it so the person finds out you wrote them a note. You do want them to know, don’t you?] and then:

 

Step Six: SHARE. Share. share.

 

This is a sort of selfish venture, since I’m “collecting” Post-it messages for a Tumbler project I’m working on that connects to my first Young Adult novel, Swimming Through Clouds, in which a Post-it sparks a sticky romance between two unlikely friends.

 

To say Thank You for jumping on my sticky note adventure with me, I have something for you, yes I do!

 

The first twenty-five, 25, yes, 25 people to post some Post-it love with Hashtags #PostitLove and #swimmingthroughclouds @rajdeeppaulus, either on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook get a book of POST-its in the mail! Snail-mail, stamps and all. :) **If you don’t @rajdeeppaulus, I won’t know and it will be really hard to find you.

 

And if you’re looking for that summer read that I think will Stick with you long after summer’s gone, hop over to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Smashwords. Read a few chapters free online, peruse the reviews and then take a swim. Swimming Through Clouds, that is. :)

No substitutions. Restricted to U.S. residents.

No substitutions. Restricted to U.S. residents.

And if you want to know more about the crazy girl who wrote this cu-razy story, Melissa Tagg posted a fun interview with a FAB intro video! Commenters have a chance to enter for an E-copy GIVEAWAY of the book, too. And Playlist Fiction is also doing a super fun, SUMMER Gift Bag full of fun stuff GIVEAWAY all July with unlimited entries! So whatcha waitin for?!?

 

Starting a #SwimmingThroughClouds Post-it Drive to promote the idea that one small act, even in the form of a note, can make a BIG difference, even change someone’s world. Because, in the words of my Agent, Chip MacGregor, words have the power to move you, and leave you changed. Forever.

 

***

And you? Do you use sticky notes to remind you of things you have to do? Great ideas you don’t want to forget? Or to doodle to pass the time while on a long-winded conference call? Do you have a favorite Post-it color? Mine is lilac. Yep. Love me some Lilac-scented Post-its. What do you mean they don’t smell like Lilacs? Because they should. Just sayin.

Treats and Tweets make Summer Sweet!

No substitutions. Restricted to U.S. residents.

No substitutions. Restricted to U.S. residents.

Nope. Not changing from YAfiction to Poetry, so my rhyming skills will MOSTly stop at the title. BUT,

You must know,

If you go,

To PlaylistFiction dot com,

Su-weet stuff from TOM-

-my Hilfiger is waiting to be won!

And you don’t even have to run

a marathon or climb a wall

or dress up for a ball

or go to the mall.

AND

hashtag: #playlistfiction

hashtag: #playlistfiction

If you pop over to Twitter Thurs night,

With a post-it pad ready to write

a little note and tweet it too,

you could win some book swag, yes YOU!

AT least SIX giveaways, starting at 8

PM Eastern Standard Time, Don’t be late!

T-shirts, books, CD’s and more!

And get the inside scoop, while you score—

Treats and sweets and meets galore.

**
And here ends the worst poem ever written but I hope it works.
AND you pop by PlaylistFiction.com to enter (as many times as you like) to win our Summer Time Grab Bag!

AND mark your calendars – Thursday night! July 11th. 8:00pm EST! For the Twitter Event of the Summer! Holly Starr, KW Walton and Amy Parker will be stopping in to hang with us, so don’t miss out!

Hashtag #playlistfiction 

Meet, I mean, Tweet you there! :)

Don’t forget your Post-its! Your Wit! and your Cyber-Smile! :)

***

Ever been to a Twitter Party? And just watched from the sidelines? Any advice for this First-Timer?

 

 

 

 

Where the Sidewalk, I mean Story, Almost Ended

pocket of love

Almost three weeks after Swimming Through Clouds hit Ebook-Shelves at Amazon and Smashwords, the first reviews are beginning to roll in. And it’s been a thrill to hear back from readers their thoughts and reactions to my heart’s first adventure, fictionally speaking. In addition to the thoughtful and encouraging reviews, friends have left me FB messages, Tweets, and occasionally texted me in the middle of the night [when you’re my age, 1:00AM-ish is the middle of the night!] but I’m always honestly giddy and tickled by their words. The one consensus that seems to arise time and time again regards the ending. And if you haven’t read Swimming Through Clouds [STC] yet, I’d encourage you to pick it up and give it a whirl before reading on. Because I might not detail the ending in this blog and I will avoid spoilers as best as I can, but in order to address some of the questions and concerns that have been brought to my attention, I might have to mention a thing or two, and I for one, don’t want to spoil it for you. :) Continue reading

Where I’ve Been Hanging Out!

Raj

So, in case you don’t have one foot in every Social Media door [yeah, some of us walk on all fours!] you might not know where I’ve been hanging.

 

Here are a few hot spots from the past few weeks in case you’re looking for that girl named, Rajdeep, call me “Raj,” Paulus.

For starters, had a little spotlight thanks to the sweet team over at:

WORDs to DREAMs

GoodREADS

PLAYLIST FICTION

 

and

LAURA KURK’s Su-weet Blog! where Glass Girl‘s author took the time to ask yours truly a bunch of questions, and this girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, put her sleeve out there. Enjoy!! And thanks so much Laura, for taking the time to give me such a gracious and firework intro!

***

And you? What would be your dream job if there were no limits? Money, time, sky or otherwise? Have you ever won anything in an online GIVEaway?? Keep an on-line ear out cuz in a couple of weeks, Laura and I are kicking off a “Perfect Clouds YA Blog Tour,” to kick off the launch of the JUNE Playlist Fiction Releases, Swimming Through Clouds and Perfect Glass! Full of Blog hops and supa-fun book Swag GiveAways! You won’t want to miss it!

Dive into Masala-Marinated YA Fiction

Featured

                                                  AVAILABLE NOW!!!    

 

 

                       Swimming Through Clouds Front Cover March24 2015SeeingThroughStones_Front_Cover_April2015

 

Awards for Swimming Through Clouds

B.R.A.G. Medallion for Young Adult Fiction

Finalist (2nd Place) NORWA (YA Fiction)

Finalist Women of Faith Full Manuscript
Finalist Wisconsin RWA Honorable Mention (YA Fiction)

“A work of art…”

-USA Today, Happy Ever After writer Serena Chase

 

“Tough and touching, resilient and raw…”
 -Tosca Lee, NY Times bestselling author of
HAVAH and The Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker

 

 “A poignant but realistic tale ~Sheila Wray Gregoire, Syndicated Columnist, Canadian National Award-Winning Speaker, Blogger, and Author of  multiple books on Marriage and Intimacy

“…Characters who come to life in each page.Diana Mao, President of Nomi Network

“…Will leave you gasping for air, reaching for something  steady to lean on…”
~ Jennifer Murgia, author of the ANGEL STAR series & 
BETWEEN THESE LINES

 

“…Difficult to read but even more difficult to put down.”
~Brown Girl Magazine
GoodReads Book Review

 “Should be read by everyone … men and women, the young and the old.”~Masala Mommas Book Review by Angie Seth

“…This patient, subtle romance is intimate and enticing.”~Talking Cranes, Book Review by Viveka Kymal 

 “This is not a bubble-gum, high school sweetheart kind of story.” 
~Laura Anderson Kurk, author of
GLASS GIRL and PERFECT GLASS